The Best Flex Circuit Manufacturers in 2022

The world has become so highly technological that it can hardly do without some form of tech, from smartphones to computers. Many of these devices depend on flexible circuit boards to function properly, creating a need for reliable flexible PCB manufacturers. The challenge is that there are many of them and choosing the right partner for your flex circuit manufacturing needs can be tough.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best flexible circuits manufacturers in 2022 and how to choose.

What Is the Difference Between Flex and Rigid-Flex PCBs?

Where a rigid-flex PCB is one constructed of both flexible and rigid materials, a flex PCB is constructed of thin, flexible materials. A flexible circuit or flexible printed circuit board, unlike the rigid printed circuit boards, can be designed and shaped to fit into a specific system or product. Flexible circuits can range from a one-layer circuit to a multi-layer circuit with three or more copper conductive layers.

Rigid flex PCBs are 3D interconnects that offer designers improved performance and heightened reliability. Manufacturers can replace multiple PCBs with interconnecting cables or wires into one unit. The rigid flex PCBs can have up to fifty layers, featuring a more compact but robust design.

Where Are Flex Circuits Used?

Flex PCBs, like rigid flex circuits, are applicable in medical devices such as CAT imaging systems, ultrasonic scanners, pacemakers, and blood glucose and blood pressure monitors. They are also used in industrial machinery, including automation and processing equipment, and lighting, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

They are also used in the automotive industry, military aerospace, defense, and consumer products such as phones and dishwashers. The flex and rigid flex circuit board are also used in the oil industry in monitoring and downhole sensors.

Why Is Choosing the Right Flex Circuit Manufacturing Partner Important?

Despite some rocky ordeals in their history, flex circuits have grown very popular, especially the rigid flex circuit boards. However, their manufacturing process is a lot more complicated than if you were manufacturing rigid circuit boards, particularly because of their intricate nature.

Thus, the flex circuit manufacturer you choose has to possess the right equipment, skilled staff, and accurate processes, including quality assurance and testing. They also have to possess an acceptable industry pedigree to get the peculiarity of this design right.

The Correct Fabrication Equipment, Standards, and Certifications

The right flex manufacturing partner should have the latest equipment and technologies to produce high-quality flexible printed circuit boards for you. A reliable flex PCB producer ensures they maintain quality and high efficiency and will, therefore, invest in their flexible PCBs production facilities.

These include the drilling tools, imaging equipment, place board testers, and surface finishing tools, among other things. Also, they must comply with ISO, UL, and IPC regulations and have accreditations such as UL 94V-O, fire-resistance conformance.

Availability of Skilled Technicians

Considering how flexible PCB manufacturing processes are advanced, not every manufacturer out there qualifies to produce them. As such, you want to look for a potential manufacturer that has a group of skilled technicians to handle your flex PCB manufacturing needs.

For reliable PCB manufacturers, quality is non-negotiable; your potential PCB manufacturer should have a track record of producing durable flex PCBs. Apart from durability, the flex PCBs should have high conductivity, high-density design, and high-speed communication lines.

Cost

The production cost and prices of flex PCBs are determined by the design standards and quality in most cases. Other factors such as solder mask material and base material can also determine how much a flex PCB manufacturer will charge.

Before choosing your preferred partner, you want to weigh these factors, finding a decent balance between quality and cost. The production cost of the flex PCB is undoubtedly one of the major factors to consider before you place an order.

Flex PCB Development Capability

Flex PCBs come in different shapes and sizes, which is why they have an uncanny ability to fit most applications. Before you settle for your flex PCB manufacturing partner, ensure they demonstrate the capacity to design the flex PCB form you desire.

For instance, if you’re looking for a flex PCB for medical devices, you need a flex circuit vastly different from a military application. A standup manufacturer such as Hillmancurtis will have the capacity to manufacture a wide range of flex PCB forms and sizes.

Testing

Testing is a vital step in the manufacturing process of flex PCBs; it ensures high efficiency and functionality. Thus, the company you choose must have robust and updated techniques for creating a flex printed circuit. This is to ensure the integrity and quality functionality of the board once it has been deployed.

This step is crucial because without elaborate testing, the flex PCB can fail massively; testing helps the manufacturer identify and correct faults promptly.

Lead Times

The lead times of the flex PCB manufacturing process is largely dependent on available technology and the layer of flex. For a single-layer flex, for instance, it would take one to ten days to manufacture. Also, where a three to six-layered flex will take 2-15 days, an eight- to thirty-layered flex PCB will take 7-20 days.

Why Should You Choose Hillmancurtis.com?

Hillman Curtis is one of the best flex circuit manufacturers in the industry with industry-leading technology, capabilities and facilities, and a team of highly skilled technicians. With over ten years of experience in the industry, Hillman Curtis offers great PCB layout, fabrication, and assembly services for PCBs.

The company, acclaimed as a time-technology leader that stands out from other companies, also offers testing validation of high-reliability flex circuit services that can be used to create substrate boards with a better performance.

Conclusion

Finding the ideal, reliable flex PCB manufacturer with guarantee of a quality component is paramount if you are particular about quality. However, considering how many there are in the industry, choosing can be a bit tough.

With the tips in this article, you can choose your ideal flex PCB manufacturing partner with a lighter approach that focuses on fabrication, quality, and capabilities. Meanwhile, Hillman Curtis is undoubtedly one of the best when it comes to flex and rigid-flex circuit designs, because it doesn’t bend on quality.